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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontological Assumptions of FOL

To: Ingvar Johansson <ingvar.johansson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 10:03:32 -0500
Message-id: <p06230901c224544ebd02@[]>
>Chris Partridge schrieb:
>>  Ingvar,
>>  In many philosophical contexts it is important to keep *sets* (abstract
>>  non-temporal entities)
>>  [Chris Partridge] I believe David Lewis (In Plurarity of Worlds) rails
>>  against this interpretation. He sees sets (especially small finite sets
>>  whose members are not scattered) as clearly concrete, with an obvious
>>  spatio-temporal location. Can I put that on people's reading lists :-).
>>   whose members are spatiotemporal entities
>>  distinct from the *aggregate* (Mario Bunge) or the *collection* (Peter
>>  Simons) of the same spatiotemporal entities.
>Yes, please, put it on the reading list! This would make it clear that
>as soon as the distinction between 'abstract non-temporal entities'
>(sets, numbers, universals, propositions, etc.) and 'concrete
>spatiotemporal entities' (you, me, the things around us, molecules,
>etc.) is accepted, a philosophical-ontological problem arises: does it
>nonetheless make sense (and can it even be true) to say that abstract
>entities exist only in space and time? My positive answers can be found
>in my paper "Roman Ingarden and the Problem of Universals", but (being a
>newcomer here) I have got the impression that such discussions are far
>beyond what this forum has been created for.    (01)

I think that a related question might be within 
scope, however: is it any USE to say that 
abstract entities exist in space and time? Does 
that viewpoint in any way simplify ontology 
writing, or bring together disparate ways of 
expressing something into a single framework, or 
facilitate interoperation? Or, on the contrary, 
does it lead to the need for artificial 
work-arounds to avoid unfortunate 
inconsistencies, or require axiom writers to use 
a certain artificial discipline, hence probably 
leading to errors, etc.? Or (like most 
philosophically motivated ontological ideas) does 
it do both, so have both advantages and 
disadvantages?    (02)

BTW, I agree it makes sense to put everything in 
space and time. (If numbers exist at all, surely 
they exist *now*.) Which is fortunate for me, 
being a dyed-in-the-wool nominalist who doesn't 
even believe that numbers are real :-)  I 
wouldn't suggest that a user community subscribe 
to my peculiar philosophy, however, and I see the 
pragmatic advantages of Platonism, and am even 
willing to use modal language, with of course the 
private perspective that it is all completely 
fictional.    (03)

Pat    (04)

>Best wishes,
>Ingvar Johansson
>IFOMIS, Saarland University
>      home site: http://ifomis.org/
>      personal home site:
>      http://hem.passagen.se/ijohansson/index.html 
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